FMI's Speech Topics

Strategy Development & Business Management

U.S. Construction Industry Talent Development Report

As construction contractors prepare to emerge from the industry recession, there is still a significant need to invest in our human resources, especially as the baby boomers continue to retire at increasing rates. What is the best way for your company to go about finding and retaining the best talent? How do you measure the effectiveness of training in terms of outcomes and benefits? Discover the answers to these questions and hear anecdotes from construction contractors that were revealed in the talent development report during this interactive session.

  • Identify the training and development strategies that are now required to maximize performance and develop a culture of success
  • Examine the trends training, challenges, concerns and innovations that have had an impact on the construction industry in the past year
  • Understand how to use these trends and strategies to guide training and development practices within your own firms

Emerging Trends: Seismic Shifts Will Require More Than an Incremental Response

How you respond to today’s trends will determine the winners and losers of tomorrow. FMI will give a synopsis of the current and emerging construction trends the construction industry is facing. This presentation provides insights into some of the construction industry's complex business challenges and will highlight what the General Contractors, Construction Managers, Architects and Engineers of the future will be doing.

Learning objectives includes:

  • An investigation of value migration and its impact on the A/E/C industry
  • Discover the explosion in mega projects and what it means to your business
  • Learn where funding for projects are coming from and where is it going

Past, Present and Future: How contractors succeeded during the downturn and which trends are emerging for the future

Numerous contractors, ranging from small to large, struggled to keep existing clients and grab a foothold during the downturn. In contrast, other construction companies gained traction, built a backlog, and ran very profitably and penetrated new areas of specialization. So what was their secret? Why did some companies do really well while others just barely survived? FMI will present several case studies and distill the relevant factors that made these companies unique and successful.

  • Learn the business imperatives for surviving in a volatile economy
  • Understand the common mistakes contractors make
  • What you can do to build a company fit for the next challenge

FMI will also give an outlook on the economic forecast and the trends that are driving the future of our industry.

Innovation - The World of Construction 2.0

The word "innovation" often invokes imagery of tablet computers, holograms and spaceships. Industry leaders such as Google, Facebook and Apple wrestle for superiority in game changing innovations. Why should the construction industry - one of the largest sectors in the world - be the laggards in the conversation of innovation? Innovative concepts give way to organizational best practices daily through powerful individuals, projects teams and business units. Innovations are not high tech flashy gadgets but groundbreaking ideas that create efficiency and ultimately make the industry better.

Learning points during this presentation include:

  • Understand how organizations stimulate innovative thinking at ALL levels in their organization
  • Examine the types of innovation and what's limits innovative thinking
  • Understand the role of management and accountability in stimulating or stifling creative and innovative thought
  • Examine some of the key trends in innovative management theories, technologies and macro-level trends

Building Your Talent Pool for Future Growth

During the past few years, the recession has diverted our attention from the need to invest in development of our people. As contractors prepare to emerge from the industry recession and we hire more people to support this new work. Some of our talented veterans left the industry during the recession and are not coming back. As we hire newer people with less experience, there is a significant need to train them, especially as the baby boomers continue to retire at increasing rates.

  • Examine training trends, challenges, concerns and innovations having an impact on the construction industry in the past year
  • Identify successful training and development strategies that are now required to maximize performance and develop a culture of accountability
  • Understand how you can use these techniques and strategies to advance talent development practices within your own company
  • Learn what best practices leading construction firms from across the country have adapted into their strategic plan

Strategic Planning

No good deal lasts forever. Because your markets, your customers, and even your products and services change, you need a strategic plan that will help your company adapt and grow. Strategic planning helps senior executives envision and develop the company's future. In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Prepare for the planning process
  • Build an effective planning team
  • Identify and shape your corporate culture
  • Conduct a situational analysis of both your internal and external environments
  • Use teamwork to achieve long-lasting results

Not All Strategy is Good Strategy – Fatal Flaws to Avoid

After a long, desolate economic winter, the surviving design and construction firms are hungry for backlog. The result is fierce competition for the scant projects currently on the bidding market. In modifying your strategy or direction for your company, it is crucial that executives honestly evaluate the critical components of Climate, Customers, Competitors and Company while redefining your strategic foundation.

  • How do I differentiate myself from competitors?
  • Which market segments will take off?
  • How have my clients' buying behaviors changed?

Organizing For Growth: How to Build a Sustainable Organization

One of the most painful aspects of the market downturn has been the trauma experienced by many contractor organizations. Many firms had enjoyed such robust growth during the previous decade that most had never felt the pain of reductions in force, hiring freezes and cutbacks in professional development. Now many companies are questioning if they have the right organizational strategy and resources in place as the market changes, yet again.

  • How you should be planning for the future of your organization?
  • Do you know the differences between a company's organization chart and its organizational structure?
  • What should you be doing to create an organization that is sustainable in good times as well as the inevitable bad times?

Who Will Run Your Business When You're Gone? Developing Emerging Managers to Run Your Company

You have worked hard over the years to build a successful company and have worn every hat along the way. You have also hired some very talented people to manage projects and provide other technical expertise, but they do not always have the business acumen to manage the financial, marketing and human capital elements that are critical to running a complex construction company. Although people need to have a solid foundation of technical knowledge, the most successful managers of the future will have also developed strong management, leadership and business skills in order to grow their companies profitably.

  • Learn to position your future leaders as an interdependent member of the management team
  • Instill a commitment to pro-actively lead and manage all elements of your human capital to get the most utilization of your organizational resources
  • Establish a culture of building long-term client relations that will permeate your organization and create a future legacy for your firm

Key Performance Indicators that Drive Best Practices

Knowing the score is a very important factor if you are going to win at the game of contracting. But how will you know if you are winning? If you only gauge success by whether you made or lost money at the end of the job, it is too late!

  • By identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), contractors will develop the components of a solid game plan for tracking performance through the life of the project.
  • By compiling the results of the KPIs, you will also develop your overall company performance on a timely basis to be able to make corrections to keep your team on course.
  • KPIs can measure a business's everyday processes to define success factors and measure progress toward strategic goals.

Turning Your Project Managers into Business Managers

Although they need to have a solid foundation of technical knowledge, the most successful project managers have also developed strong management, leadership and business skills in order to execute projects profitably. Project managers need to understand the financial impact of what they do every day and learn to proactively manage cash flow, accurate forecasting of cost to complete along with tracking, pricing and collecting of change orders. The best project managers will accomplish this while maintaining positive client relationships to leverage future repeat business.

  • Understand the financial impact of effective project controls, projected cash flow, and getting paid for the all of the work you do
  • Proactively manage all aspects of the job utilizing innovative tools and leveraging relationships with key resources such as subcontractors, suppliers and consultants
  • Build long-term client relations through an understanding of marketing and business development concepts

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Marketing & Business Development

The Construction Value Chain: Matching Your Value Proposition to the Needs of Your Customer

Remember that customers buy on their perception of value. If you do not differentiate yourselves in the eyes of the buyer, you will force the customer to buy solely on price. Conduct an objective analysis of your strengths and then match them to the right market sectors and targets to improve results. Capitalize on shared values with your customers. Learn how to communicate your core competencies to create the best value for your customers and your company. Separate customer value points from selling price.

  • What is the meaning of differentiation and why is it important to you as a contractor?
  • How can you determine what makes your company different?
  • Do you really know which market sectors & clients generate the most margins for you?
  • Why are you constantly fighting for space in the mind of the customer?
  • Develop a structured communications plan to help you stand apart from your competition.

Building Your Backlog – Regardless of Market Conditions

Knowing how to build and manage your firm's backlog is crucial. With a new business landscape clearly in view, it is time to tune up your firm's abilities. Your staff knows that it is everyone's job to win work and keep customers happy and loyal. The key is giving them the right tools, ideas and techniques they need in order to engage new and existing customers and win work faster than your competitors.

  • Motivate your people to put "feet on the street" and knocking on doors
  • Get your strategy straight – know how you are going to get results
  • Define the right customers for your firm
  • Instill customer-focused attitude in your operations team
  • Make the right choices about business development efforts
  • Find the "White Space" where your firm offers a distinct advantage over competitors
  • Think campaign: a sustained business development effort has more impact than one big event
  • Find small improvements that will be easy to implement and maintain

Connecting Actual Job Costs Back to Estimating

One of the biggest risks to a company in a low-margin construction economy is executing a project differently than how it was estimated (and vice versa). In our growth restricted environment, the best way to maintain profitability is to create field friendly budgets, aggressively track and manage direct costs and to incorporate actual performance into future estimates. Learning Objectives of this program include:

  • How to incorporate field input into estimates
  • The healthy differences between an Estimate and a Budget
  • Why and how actual job costs should be tracked
  • Using job-cost information to improve estimating accuracy

Driving Best Practices in Business Development

As organizations try to make sense of the changing markets around them, many are putting renewed efforts into their business development approach. After observing a significant shift in this direction, FMI conducted an extensive, in-depth survey of contractor CEOs and top executives in an attempt to identify the current challenges of the business development process and those solutions that are yielding positive results. We will share the key findings from this research and focus on what works based on direct experiences of contractors who are leveraging a total business development culture within their firms. Areas of discussion will include:

  • Why don’t the same old sales tactics work anymore?
  • Implementing successful new business development activities, and measuring the results of each
  • How to instill a companywide business development culture to drive new business opportunities
  • Creative strategies that focus all of your resources on the customer

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Project Execution

Practical Applications of Lean Six Sigma Concepts to Improve Efficiency and Organizational Productivity

The focus of many construction organizations remains fixed on cost reduction and efficiency. With the downward pressure on price, contractors continue to examine areas of their business that are waste – however large or small – is prevalent. As schedules contract, owners expectations rise and margins remain in a fragile balance, it is imperative that the construction industry examine its operations and develop sound lean, efficient processes. Replicable tools and processes will help firms be competitive today and maintain a sustainable advantage tomorrow..

  • Examine a general history of Lean Six Sigma and the practical construction applications of Lean tools, processes and behaviors
  • Understand the truths and myths about Lean implementation and how a contracting firm can implement the DMAIC concept and reduce waste in any business process
  • Examine FMI’s P3 model and explore the correct way to drive efficiency and productivity
  • Create an integrated approach that is consistent, sustainable and replicable long term to drive money to the bottom line

Project Management

Your company is growing and it is time to expand. You have secured the dollars from the capital projects budget and now it is time to start the project. Successful project management can make the difference between an on time, on-budget project or a late, over-budget disaster. You will learn about:

  • Trends in capital project management
  • Strategic project organizing
  • Contracting practices
  • Project controls
  • Management of quality and safety

Leveraging Your Competitive Advantage by Improving Productivity

How do you win in today's tough economy? Becoming a lower-cost producer is probably the best strategy. Much like safety, productivity improvement must start at the top. Contrary to popular belief, productivity is not a field problem, but rather an important management and leadership issue.

  • Improving productivity is the best way to address the current market challenges
  • Learn how a minimal improvement in productivity will make you more competitive on bid day and improve your bottom line
  • FMI's P3 model - Process, Productivity Tools, People
  • Integration of top management and project management are critical to productivity improvement.
  • Learn about the best practices that are being implemented including new technologies that will impact the industry

How to Avoid Confrontation with Change Orders

Let's face it, change orders are a way of life in construction and unfortunately, so is the conflict that seems to be inherent with trying to convince your customer of the added cost that results from a change in project scope. However, there are ways to avoid that confrontation and still be paid for the additional work that you have done. Learning Objectives:

  • Master the art of dealing with delays, accelerations, additions, deletions, and other changes
  • Learn to recognize a change, get paid for it
  • Understand how to document and determine the amount of a change order, and how to communicate changes and their costs to clients and personnel
  • Examine change costs, contract terms, and overhead, and the impact they have on scheduling and retention

Elements of Cash Flow Management and Getting Paid

Your ability to manage cash flow directly influences your project success. Being aware of these elements, combined with taking action, can lead to project success. Master the major tasks of analyzing financial statements, tracking cash conversion periods, deciding when and if to borrow, keeping your working capital at adequate levels, and protecting your bonding capacity. After the project is finished, it is time to ask for payment, a time to look at retention and final billing preparation and knowing what your options are. During this session participants will:

  • Understand the ins and outs of cash flow and learn to project cash flow by dept. or job.
  • Discuss track total cash flow by analyzing backlog, estimating monthly project income and anticipating cash disbursements.
  • Learn how to gain the owner's acceptance.
  • Examine the punch-list process-giving notice, interim versus final, allocating funds to items, establishing escrow accounts, and finishing on time.
  • Discover how to negotiate using bid documents, meeting minutes, notification copies, request for change orders, cost records, estimates, schedules and correspondence as evidence.

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Developing Your Leadership Pipeline

Rapid changes in technology, globalization and workforce demographics are significantly affecting the way we do business at every level. These factors are profoundly affecting our ability to recruit and retain quality people, and this is especially true in attempts to develop future leaders. By making certain your organization understands how to attract and retain star talent, you will ensure your leadership pipeline stays full, and your organization will continue to succeed.

This interactive session will help participants:

  • Examine the critical issues facing internal leadership candidates
  • Provide insight into how to consistently groom and develop leaders at every level so you can help move them up to the next level of leadership
  • Identify who the top talent is within your organization
  • Understand different methods for developing your top talent to ensure they're working at their peak level

It's 2023: Where Does Your Company Stand?

Change is occurring at a quicker pace than ever, both internally and external to our organizations. In times of increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, leadership becomes more important than ever before. Long-term planning seems like nonsense with changes to the A/E/C industry occurring daily. Being aware of current global trends will help leaders navigate the volatile market in the short-term. What about the long-term? It is critical that leaders focus on their long-term organizational vision amidst the chaotic markets that currently surround us.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Uncover global trends of growth and spending in the A/E/C Industry
  • Discover what trends are driving change in our industry
  • Understand the importance of long-term strategic planning
  • Define what their company can't afford to be complacent between now and 2022

Key Principles in Building an Enduring Organization

Building an enduring organization in today's environment of unparalleled change requires the kind of leadership that drives trust, commitment, and engagement in its people. FMI will lead participants through a discussion of core elements of leadership effectiveness and organizational endurance, as well as critical skills for today's leader of tomorrow's workforce.

This interactive session will help participants:

  • Clarify what sets enduring organizations apart from other organizations
  • Recognize the invaluable importance of building an enduring organization in order for your organizations to last for many generations
  • Identify the framework for building an enduring organization
  • Examine the role leadership takes in establishing your organization's core ideology and envisioned future

Leading Employees of All Generations

From Baby Boomers to the Millennials, every generation is motivated and frustrated by different things. Research shows there are characteristics and events in history that helped shape each generation, making each of them unique. Figuring out how to lead the four generations in today's workforce is extremely challenging and overwhelming.

In this session, participants will:

  • Understand the unique characteristics and motivators for each generation
  • Learn strategies for communicating and effectively leading employees of all generations
  • Discover how to retain and lead each generation

Leading in a VUCA World

The United States military coined the term VUCA to reflect the growing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations. VUCA accurately describes the environment currently facing the construction industry. In times of increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, leadership becomes more important than ever before. Leaders will need a new skill set to operate effectively in a VUCA world. This interactive session will explore the unique challenges and opportunities that exist in this new environment and explore the skills leaders need to succeed.

Participants will learn to:

  • Better understand how VUCA is impacting their business
  • Identify the key skills leaders need to operate in a VUCA world
  • Effectively manage change throughout the organization
  • Create a plan to develop their next generation of leaders to effectively lead in this new business environment

The Strategic Imperative: Transforming How Leaders Think

To succeed in a constantly changing business environment, leaders need to reexamine the way they think about their business, their strategies and their people. This interactive session will explore how leaders can transform their thinking from operational to strategic, to see new opportunities and solutions to the problems they are facing. In this increasingly competitive business landscape, the leaders able to think strategically about their business will have a clear advantage in the marketplace.

This interactive session will help participants:

  • Recognize the difference between strategic thinking on an individual level and apply that thinking to the organization's strategic initiatives
  • Increase awareness and plan for the major trends and factors that will impact their business
  • Examine the specific skills that allow an individual to think more strategically, ultimately leading to greater results
  • Identify ways to develop strategic thinking skills in the next generation of leaders

Strategic Leadership: How Today's Decisions Will Impact Your Organization's Future

Strategy. Innovation. Change management. These are buzzwords in the lexicon of today's management books. What do they really mean to leaders in the construction industry? In today's world of constant, rapid change, it is more difficult than ever to chart a course through the uncertainty and ambiguity to ensure your organization's success. Leaders need to think strategically to leverage the opportunities in the marketplace while avoiding the pitfalls. This interactive session will help participants learn how to capitalize on strategic opportunities, from innovative processes to monitoring the competitive landscape, to create and sustain a competitive advantage.

This interactive session will help participants:

  • Understand the difference between strategic planning and strategic thinking
  • Discover how leaders can plan for the unexpected, to ensure the long-term success of their organization
  • Making strategic decisions to guide the organization through turbulent times
  • Predict and prepare for downstream impacts of today's decisions

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Common Practices and the Effectiveness of Incentive Compensation

Incentive compensation is a huge investment. The U.S. construction industry has an enormous opportunity to improve the effectiveness of current incentive compensation programs as only 37% of construction companies use industry market data to ensure adequate incentives. It can be challenging to create an incentive plan that supports your strategic objectives, motivates attainment of stretch goals, provides desired returns and behaviors and yields results. FMI set out to answer some basic questions to find out what makes incentive compensation more effective in the eyes of top executives in the construction industry. The results of this incentive compensation survey will be revealed during this presentation.

  • Discover the seven critical issues that are common practices in the construction industry that need to be addressed in order to improve the effectiveness of your incentive program
  • Understand why paying discretionary bonuses are not effective for moving your company forward
  • Learn how total rewards can attract and retain the best talent and increase your return on investment
  • Discover how to effectively balance the incentives to minimize unintended consequences such as divisional silos and free riders
  • Learn how to avoid the pitfall of paying out bonuses in lean years and ensure adequate time for proper transitions to new plans

Rewarding Employees through Effective Incentive Compensation Plans

A properly designed and skillfully implemented incentive compensation plan is a powerful management tool. The goals of any incentive compensation plan should be to retain your current employees, to attract new employees and to reward employees for superior performance. In this session, you will learn about:

  • The different types of incentive plans
  • Current compensation issues and trends
  • What works, what does not and why
  • Methods to link pay to performance
  • Effective methods to implement the plan

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Risk Management

Risk Management Strategies: What You Do Not Know Can Break You!

The Risk environment in construction is volatile, and it takes only one major occurrence to put you out of business. Understand what portion of your Balance Sheet is “At Risk.” Learn to develop risk mitigation plans and programs to respond to these risks.

  • Gain insight into how risk management can be a strategic asset to your business
  • Determine and quantify your company’s risk tolerance line
  • Identify black swans that could take your business out. Does your enterprise risk management program address the “what ifs”?

Risk Management as a Strategic Asset: Protect the Legacy of the Firm

Risk Management is no longer a defensive strategy. Firms are leveraging risk management not only to mitigate risks but also profit from them. It is clear that the construction marketplace has changed over the last several years; owners are more educated and the competition is tougher, and as a result, businesses are running fast and hard for tighter margins. While the market has changed, the leaders of our industry have evolved the way they view risk management. However, much of the industry still operates under the tactical view of risk management. Best-in-class construction firms are using risk management as a strategic asset to not only better protect the company, but to increase value and profitability as well.

  • Transform risk management from a cost center to a profit center
  • Learn the importance of shifting from a tactical to a strategic view of risk management
  • Understand the critical elements needed to defensively (protect) and offensively (increase the value) utilize risk management
  • Recognize what the value of a structure and enterprise approach to risk management can have on your strategic plan and the future of your company
  • Identify where risk management should live in your organization and how it should be handled at the highest level

Where’s the Risk?: Creation of a Project Risk Assessment

While the construction market in many regions is improving and there is some cause for cautious exuberance, many contractors are still experiencing crowded bid boards and competition willing to pursue work at near break-even (or worse) margins. As the pressures mount to build the backlog and keep ‘feeding the machine’, it has never been more important for contractors to understand and quantify the risks associated with a project prior to submitting the bid. However, when it comes to bidding projects, contractors have been slow to react to this new environment and continue to bid projects as they historically have done. Forward thinking contractors are implementing robust project risk assessment programs within their organizations.

  • Understand how to price projects consistently and accurately to win the “right” work at the “right” price
  • Learn how best-in-class project risk assessment programs positively affect margin outcome
  • What are the key elements and project areas contractors should focus on
  • Discover how are risks identified, analyzed, weighted and scored
  • View the key components of a project risk assessment dashboard

Bridging the Gap in Organizational Risk Management

Risk lives in all functional areas of contractors’ business. How well they formalize the risk management function within the organization is what separates the best-in-class from the rest. These best-in-class contractors treat risk management more holistically and have identified and bridged the gaps that exist within their organizations.

  • Learn how firms “bridge the gaps” between risk management silos that exist within the organization
  • Understand how risk is embedded within the functional areas of the company and affect strategy, business development and preconstruction, operations, and finance
  • Recognize how to quantify, manage and mitigate risks that could threaten the company’s balance sheet health
  • Discover how an enterprise risk management process can identify unseen risks and successfully manage and mitigate the impact to the organization

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